Ken Giles brings Texas heat to the Astros bullpen
The moment Houston Astros fans have waited for since news broke last week had arrived, we got to see Ken Giles in an Astros uniform. Giles will wear #53, understands that the Astros gave up a lot to get him via a Tweet by Evan Drellich. Giles also understands that there are expectations of winning from this young Astros team, so he will do what it takes to help the Astros. From Brian McTaggart’s Tweet, Giles said, “I believe I can be successful in any role. I can be the 8th-inning guy, which I’ve done before. I’d be fine with that.”
The Astros traded Mark Appel, Vincent Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Harold Arauz, and Thomas Eshelman for a setup guy, wow that’s a steep price for an 8th-inning guy with only a year plus of MLB service time. If you wanted someone to be a setup guy, you could have gone after Antonio Bastardo without giving up the prospects it took to get Giles. You wanted a flame-thrower, why not name him closer right now?
A.J. Hinch apparently wrote all the bullpen arms on a whiteboard in his office and said that there were some good names there via McTaggart. No, he did not let the media see it, but it’s not hard to predict who would be on it. I will play Hinch’s game and not label the roles in December.
Lefty or long relief
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The Astros seem to believe that despite paying a lot for Giles and Jonathan Arauz, they will not just hand him the job before they get to see how he will respond in Spring Training. Hinch hinted that he wanted to shake Giles’ hand and look him eye to eye to get a judge of his character before assigning roles. According to Drellich, Hinch said, “I’m no dummy. I understand we paid a lot to get Ken Giles…I understand the difference between 90 mph and 100 mph.”
There is the human element as well, the fact that the Astros signed Gregerson to a three-year deal to be the closer, with incentives for closing out games. Despite how hard Giles throws, Gregerson is still the veteran who currently owns the role of closer. The Astros insist that they have been in communication with Gregerson about the trade talks and his role on the team. Gregerson deserves the chance to fight for the role in spring training, but the job will go to the most deserving candidate.
No matter what role Giles has, all he can do is bring the old fashioned Texas heat into the game. Something Hinch could eventually do is have Giles as the closer, but if he is needed to get an out or two in the eighth inning of game four of the ALDS, then Gregerson can pitch the ninth inning. Look forward to 100 mile Giles coming to Minute Maid Park soon, as closer or setup guy, he makes the Astros bullpen much better.